Because computers don't fix themselves

Archive for March, 2010

Printing to a Windows shared printer from a Macintosh

What a pain in the butt!

Connecting to a shared printer on a Windows network is one of the easiest things to do on a network.

Until you add a macintosh to the equation.

Setting it up might appear easy.  But, if your Windows computer has a user name and password, good luck. If you try to set it up with the normal connecting through the network, even if you save your user name and password into your keychain, the printer will pause, and wait for you to open the printer window to tell you that you need to authenticate.  EVERY time you print.  Lame!

But, there IS a way.  Just not a way any average user would know.

This assumes your printer is already set up correctly and shared on a windows computer.  And, that you know the user name and password of the computer sharing the printer.

On the Macintosh:

  • Click on the apple, and go to System Preferences.
  • Go to Printers
  • Click the + to add a printer
  • Now, right click (or control+click) on the toolbar at the top, and customize the view.
  • Choose Windows from the pull-down menu, and hit ok.
  • NOW you can actually choose the Windows icon.  Let it think for a minute, but it should see the shared printer.  Choose it.
  • Then, in the network path box, enter this:  smb://username:password@servername/sharedprinter.  (So, if your Windows machine is named “Computer,” the printer is named “R2D2,” and the windows computer is accessible by the user name, “Dave” with the password “password,” it looks like this: smb://Dave:password@Computer/R2D2)
  • Be sure to change the name of the printer to what you want it to appear as (otherwise, it will auto-name it the name of your Windows machine… confusing).
  • Lastly, choose the correct printer driver from the pull down list. (If your printer isn’t listed, have you already downloaded and/or installed the macintosh driver for that printer?  If not, do so, and it should be in this list).
  • Hit ok, and you’re set.

Not hard, but definitely not intuitive.

Good luck!

Carbonite and cloned computers

You all probably know how much I love, use, and recommend Carbonite as a Backup Solution for personal (and small business) computers.  I love it!

But, today, I ran into my first actual problem with Carbonite.  And, it wasn’t a problem with their software or service at all, but rather a problem with my client’s computer.

My client purchased three copies of Carbonite, one for each of three computers.  Even though the software loaded without a problem, and everything looked good, the following day, one computer wouldn’t work, and the other was set up for a 2 year subscription, instead of one.  Apparently, one subscription was treated as a renewal of the first, rather than an additional one.

After some time on the phone with the very friendly and patient tech, Daniel, we discovered that one of the computers was a cloned hard drive, and therefore an exact duplicate windows installation as one of the other computers. 

And, even though the computer names were different, and they even had different IP addresses, it doesn’t matter.  Carbonite’s servers use the Windows SID information to determine which computer is which.  And, therefore, it thought these two computers were actually a single computer.  And, without changing the SID on one machine (which is a tricky and potentially operating system-crashingly dangerous process), there was no way to tell Carbonite that they were different machines.

Finally, there being no other option, we set up a 2nd Carbonite account under a different e-mail address from the first.  Which worked like a charm, as then we could put one of each of the cloned computers on a different account.

So, moral of the story:  If you have a cloned computer, and want to use Carbonite on both, make separate accounts, or be prepared to spend a few hours on the phone later on. =)